Cleveland Browns: Three players that could surprise in 2018
By Dan Justik
Genard Avery – Linebacker
The Browns are solid with their starting linebackers Schobert, Jamie Collins, and Christian Kirksey. But there will always be time for a rotational linebacker like Genard Avery to receive playing time.
Such as if there is an injury, like what happened to Collins last year as he missed ten games. Or if Schobert was a one-year wonder and struggles in 2018, a replacement may be needed. There will always be a time when a backup linebacker can make plays.
Avery is an athletic linebacker that can get to the quarterback. In 2017, Avery made 80 tackles, 22 of which for loss, and 8.5 sacks while playing for Memphis. For a player that can play as an inside linebacker and record 8.5 sacks, there is a lot of talent there.
Playing in Williams’ aggressive defense, there will be a lot calls for blitzing linebackers. Avery could find playing time if Williams wants his blitzing linebacker to get home and sack the quarterback.
And even though Avery’s specialty is getting to the quarterback, he has the athleticism to be comfortable in coverage. In 2017, he recorded two pass breakups. And in 2016, Avery intercepted two passes, returning both for touchdowns.
Although Avery will primarily be playing on special teams – where he should be able to make an impact – he has the talent necessary to be a reliable. He could even take over as a starter at some point during the season. Avery will put up more production than Browns fans expect from a fifth-round pick.